By now, you’ve probably seen your fair share of headlines that include phrases like “the It-girls of Instagram” or read something about how the social media platform is influencing fashion in a very real way. Hell, your own feed is probably brimming with beyond-cool young women with thousands upon thousands of followers, so it makes sense that a new fashion app is harnessing the power of these Insta-girls by employing them to act as stylists for anyone looking for fashion advice.
Founded by a small team of ex-retail technology execs and headquartered in Los Angeles, onTrend—which soft-launched last week—tapped eight very different but equally influential Instagram style stars to lend their time to eager fashion fans by offering style and beauty tips, shopping intel, even career advice via one-on-one video styling sessions that users schedule via the app (and pay for—each session will run you $9.95. )
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Why pay for this experience when you can troll these girls’ social accounts or blogs for free? Mostly because instead of having a one-sided experience—you looking at their photos—they’re working with you to answer specific questions and offer their expertise on your personal style.
“We’re able to watch vloggers online and scroll through [blog] feeds, but we aren’t able to interact with them directly or personally,” said Honor Hamilton, one of onTrend’s stylists and partner in the company. “Rather than commenting on a video or post in hopes you might get an answer, you can speak with these influencers directly to get the info or advice you’re seeking about style and beauty.”
Here’s how it works: Users download onTrend and sign in using Facebook or Instagram. From there, you’re taken to a feed that showcases the initial eight stylists hired by the app. When you find the one you relate to most, you’re able to book a five-minute styling session with them right from your phone and connect through a proprietary video call system that’s built in to the app.
It’s a fun idea—one that the founders hope will eventually grow to include product integration although now, any items suggested to users are strictly at the will of the stylists. Changing up the influencer list as time goes on is also in the plan, according to onTrend’s founders.
What’s particularly worth noting, however, is how well the app’s team managed to corral a group of girls who feel like the next organic step in terms of fashion influencers.
While most of us are all too familiar with the same dime-a-dozen bloggers who fill our feeds with homogeneous, often sponsored photos (Chloé bags, ice cream cones and Cartier bracelets, peonies, free vacations), onTrend’s influencers are grittier, cooler, more diverse, and a little left of center. Basically the girls you want to be, or at least hang out with—even if it is only for five minutes at a clip.
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